NONFICTION


You may be wondering which nonfiction class you should take. If you use the form below, we will be happy to advise you on the most appropriate class for your project and experience level. Keep in mind that Nonfiction I is generally for beginners who are interested in exploring personal narrative (memoir in short or long form) and/or non-personal narrative (creative nonfiction, journalism, art criticism, science writing, etc.). Nonfiction II is generally for writers who have taken Nonfiction I and would like to keep the freedom to write either form of narrative. Memoir I is for students who have decided they wish to write personal narrative (memoir or personal essay). Memoir II is generally for writers who have taken Memoir I and are in the early stages of a project (a memoir or collection of personal essays). Essay Writing is designed to produce inquisitive essays in which the primary focus is not personal experience. Mixed Levels classes are designed for both Level I and II students in the genre offered.


Two-Day Seminar: Close to the Edge—Joan Didion’s Nonfiction (two sections taught by Bernard Cooper in Silver Lake) 

Two Saturdays
11:00 am to
2:00 pm

Section 1:
May 13 and
May 20, 2017
(SOLD OUT)

Section 2:
June 17 and
June 24, 2017
(1 spot left)

Although no longer a resident of California, preeminent essayist Joan Didion not only influenced the direction of contemporary American nonfiction in general, but she also created a vital literary voice dedicated to the singular nature of life in Los Angeles.  

In the first session of this two-day seminar, we’ll examine three of Didion’s pivotal works of short nonfiction: “Los Angeles Notebook,” “In Bed,” and “Why I Write.” Through group discussion, students will explore why Didion’s work is essential to our understanding of life “lived close to the edge,” as she said of our costal city. What narrative tactics (fragmentation, irony, select statistics) and nuanced qualities of the writer’s voice make her prose almost instantly recognizable? What can writers learn from Didion’s rigorous journalistic distance from her charged and often personal subject matter?

For the second session, students will bring in excerpts of a writing assignment based on “Los Angeles Notebook” to be read aloud and discussed in class. The goal of this seminar is to use Didion’s work to inspire students to better observe and use their daily experiences of life in LA for their own work and for the formation of a sensibility that can inform future writing projects.

This seminar is open to students of all levels. It will be held in Silver Lake, where coffee, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$170 for new students; $150 for returning students

 

Two-Day Seminar: Make America Write Again (taught by Seth Fischer in Chinatown)

Two Saturdays
11:00 am to
2:00 pm

June 3 and
June 10, 2017
 

In the last few months, distraught over the ominous and overwhelming political landscape, many writers have been asking themselves some tough questions: Why continue to write? How can activism and writing coexist and what, exactly, does that look like? What rhetorical techniques are best for communicating political ideas? How can you use craft to tell the kinds of stories that can transform minds without being didactic? 
 
In this two-day seminar, students will spend the first day discovering how effective political writing can be. We'll investigate how writers like James Baldwin, Arundhati Roy, and George Saunders use scene, detail, and reflection in both fiction and nonfiction to transform the perspective of their readers, and we'll experiment with our own political writing using prompts based on their work. On the second day, students will work to develop a short piece of political writing, receive feedback from other students and the instructor, and discuss how we are all planning to incorporate activism into our writing lives. 

This seminar is open to students of all levels. It will be held in Chinatown, where coffee, sparkling water, and light snacks will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$170 for new students; $150 for returning students

 

Nonfiction I (taught by Margaret Wappler in Mount Washington) – SOLD OUT

Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

April 18, 2017 to June 6, 2017

In this eight-week course for beginners, students will read craft essays and models as an introduction to the nonfiction genres. The class will help determine what kind of nonfiction would be the best vehicle to express your ideas. We will discuss overarching issues such as persona, audience, ethics, memory, and truth as well as specific techniques such transitions, dialogue, use of sensory detail, etc. The first four weeks of the course will be devoted to exploring various types of nonfiction through generative (homework and in-class) writing exercises. In the second half of the class, students will have the chance to workshop their writing in a serious, respectful, and community-oriented environment meant to challenge and inspire each member of the class. 

Nonfiction I is also open to more experienced writers who want to brush up on the basics or try their hand at a new nonfiction form. This class will take place in Mount Washington, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Nonfiction II (taught by Bernard Cooper in Silver Lake) – SOLD OUT

Thursdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

April 27, 2017 to June 15, 2017

This eight-week intermediate level course is designed for writers who have a clear idea of the persona, audience, and purpose driving their work, whether personal essay, memoir, or other forms of creative nonfiction. Our main goal will be to bring projects toward completion through a process of drafting, feedback, and revision in a challenging but supportive environment. There will be assigned craft readings and suggested exercises that will help students develop their projects. Writers will have the opportunity to submit work for feedback from the instructor and other students twice. 

This class will take place Silver Lake, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Memoir I (taught by Seth Fischer in Miracle Mile) – SOLD OUT

Tuesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

May 2, 2017 to June 20, 2017

This eight-week workshop will introduce writers to the essentials of the memoir, both short- and long-form. We will explore all the fictional techniques that bring memoir to life—dialogue, setting, characterization—as well as those aspects of recollection and reflection that make it such an engaging and moving genre. Assigned readings will demonstrate how effective memoir writers have made personal experience vivid and unforgettable, but the class will emphasize rigorous discussion of student work with the aim of fully realizing autobiographical prose. This class is also open to more experienced memoirists who are in the ongoing process of honing their craft.

This class will take place in Miracle Mile, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.


Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)

 

Mixed Levels Memoir (taught by Elline Lipkin in Echo Park) – SOLD OUT

Wednesdays
7:30 to 9:30 pm

April 26, 2017 to June 14, 2017



Are you interested in writing about your experiences navigating the world? Then this class is for you. This eight-week mixed levels class is designed for anyone writing personal narrative of any length. Students will complete writing exercises and discuss published personal essays and excerpted memoirs from a craft perspective. The class will address issues such as persona, audience, structure, stakes, voice, point of view, memory and truth, and ethical considerations specific to the genre. Students will have the chance to workshop their writing in a serious environment meant to challenge and inspire each member of the class. 

This class will take place in Echo Park, where wine and sparkling water—and the occasional gourmet cheese—will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$390 for new students; $350 for returning students. (Payment plans available to returning students.)